Paris: The hairdresser assigned to the French president Francois Hollande's diminishing hairline is paid an eye-watering €10,000 (Rs 7 lakh) a month, about the same amount as a government minister’s salary.
Taxpayers in France are bearing the expense, which is €9,895 (Rs 7, 35,012) for a month's work with family benefits and residence allowance thrown in on top.
“When my 2,600 euros of income tax represent one week of the hairdresser’s salary #CoiffeurGate #shameful,” a user tweeted.
“#CoiffeurGate — ah, now I finally understand the expression ‘budgetary cuts,’” mused another.
Some photoshopped royal wigs, mullets or toupées onto the French president’s sparsely adorned head.
According to a French news source, the staggering figure is only €5,000 (Rs 4 lakh) a month less than Hollande himself is paid to run the whole country.
French newspaper Canard Enchaîné published the hairdresser's contract, in which he is referred to as Oliver B.
The five-year contract would end up filling Mr B’s pockets with around €600,000 (Rs 5.34 crore) by the end of his tenure.
The contract, pictured below, reads: “Mr B. commits to maintaining the utmost secrecy, during and after the completion of his contract, on the work he has done and the information he has had access to.”
The French newspaper claim the hairdresser is a regular travel companion to the President and Mr B's lawyer Sarah Levy told a French news source the bumper salary was to reflect her client's workload.
“He is available to the president around the clock, 24 hours a day, and is never replaced by anyone else. He missed the birth of his own children, their broken arms, their operations,” she said.
Mr B coiffures Francois Hollande's hair every morning, and also does the president's hair before public appearances.
The story has prompted French citizens to poke fun at their head of state by offering up hair loss suggestions ranging from a garish mullet to a Donald Trump-inspired make-over.